Members of Parliament on Monday gave Privilege notices against actor Om Puri, civil rights activists Kiran Bedi, Prashant Bhushan, and Arvind Kejriwal and CEO of Star News for using "derogatory and defamatory" language against the MPs during the campaign on Lok Pal issue led by Anna Hazare. The matter is under consideration of the Chair in both the Houses.
In the Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar said that she had received notices for moving a Privilege Motion against Om Puri for "allegedly" using "derogatory and defamatory" language against members of Parliament and also casting reflections on the House.
Ms. Kumar said she had received notices from P. L. Punia, Jagadambika Pal, Ramashankar Rajbhar, Lalchand Kataria, Mirza Aslam Beg, Praveen Aron and Shailendra Kumar. "The matter is under my consideration," the Speaker said.
During the agitation at Ramlila grounds, Mr. Puri and Ms. Bedi had allegedly targeted politicians in their speeches.
In the Rajya Sabha, Deputy Chairman K. Rahman Khan told the agitated members that the Privilege notices given by Ramgopal Yadav, Sabir Ali, Jesudasan Seelam and Mohd Adeeb, an Independent member, were under consideration of the Chairman.
Raising the issue during Zero Hour in the Upper House, Mr. Yadav said that the film actor dubbed Parliamentarians as "thieves" and "incompetent" while addressing the people at Ramlila ground on August 26.
He said such a statement by the actor is a privilege of MPs and requested the Chair to refer his notice to the Privilege Committee amid thumping of desks by members from all parties.
In the meantime, Om Puri has expressed regret over his remarks and said the choice of words was inappropriate. He has said he was ready to appear before the Parliament and explain, if called to do so. The actor said he should have used appropriate language for description of the political class.
Ms. Bedi also has said that her action on Friday mocking the MPs went against her grain but she did not mean to hurt anybody. However, she told a news agency here on Monday: "I will respond to it when I receive it. I have neither received nor been informed of it. I cannot go by news reports."
Mr. Yadav said lawyer-activist Prashant Bhushan had told a news channel that "Bills are passed in Parliament by taking bribe" while Ms. Bedi had ridiculed MPs which amounted to contempt of Parliament, he said.
Mr. Khan, who was in the Chair in the Rajya Sabha, assured the members that he would convey the sense of the House to the Chairman.
Taking strong objection to Ms Bedi calling politicians "illiterate," Mr. Yadav said such statements eroded the dignity of Parliament. "More than 80 per cent members in this House are graduates and those who are not educated are also more competent than many educated ones," he said citing examples.
Under the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha, the Speaker can dismiss the notice, refer the matter to the Privileges Committee or get the sense of House before taking any decision. Many a times, the members do withdraw their notices after due apology has been tendered by those against whom the notices are moved.